Saturday, January 15, 2022

How our universities became sheep factories - UnHerd

St Andrew’s, for instance, insists that students pass a “diversity” module in order to matriculate. Questions include: “Acknowledging your personal guilt is a useful starting point in overcoming unconscious bias. Do you agree or disagree?” The only permitted answer is “agree”. But what if you don’t feel, and don’t want to accept, personal guilt for anything? What if you think (like Nietzsche) that guilt itself is counterproductive? As one student aptly commented, “Such issues are never binary and the time would be better spent discussing the issue, rather than taking a test on it.”

My own university, Cambridge, wants academic staff to undergo “race awareness” training. This advises you to “assume racism is everywhere”. Attendees are also reminded that “this is not a space for intellectualising the topic”. You might have thought “intellectualising” — ie thinking about — it is the kind of thing Cambridge academics should do. But don’t feel bad about getting that wrong; or at least, don’t feel bad about feeling bad: we are also told that these sessions aim at “working through” the feelings of shame and guilt that you might have on your journey in “developing an antiracist identity”.

It isn’t just Cambridge and St Andrews. There is anti-racism or “unconscious bias” training being offered to, or more likely thrust upon, staff and/or students at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Goldsmiths, KCL, Liverpool, Oxford Medical School, Sheffield, Solent, Sussex and doubtless hundreds of other universities and departments across the country.

It isn’t just training either. The very purpose of a university is being redefined. You might think they exist to conduct teaching and research. That would be naïve. Most universities now routinely call themselves anti-racist institutions, where this means: actively campaigning for a political end. For instance, Sussex says: “[a]s an institution we must actively play our part in dismantling the systems and structures that lead to racial inequality, disadvantage and under-representation”. Bristol expects all its members to “stand up” to racism “wherever it occurs”.


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Ahmed was, I think, one of the leaders of the successful revolt of the dons against the dripping wet Vice-Chancellor. Maybe they'll find an even wetter, woker replacement foisted on them.

Posted by: dearieme | Jan 15, 2022 4:14:43 PM